The Individualized Major gives students the flexibility to be creative and follow their true passions and interests in the curriculum.
by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, Achievements
24 November 2018
At Maharishi University of Management (MUM) the most popular major is now the Individualized Major, in which students design their own curriculum around courses offered by two or more academic departments.
"Students are excited to be able to use their creativity to mold a major that reflects their true passions and interests," said John Collins, who directs the program along with Paula Armstrong.
The Individualized Major has quadrupled in the past year, with 31 students in the program and more indicating an intention to join. Their degree titles range from "Regenerative Agriculture and Business" to "Consciousness-Based Education for Sustainability" to "Art and Self-Development."
Under the guidance of Professors Collins and Armstrong, students propose an Individualized Major by writing a detailed plan that lists the specific courses they will be taking.
Once their plan is approved, it is filed with the Registrar's Office and constitutes their official graduation requirements.
When they graduate, their degree carries the title of their self-designed major, such as "Bachelor of Arts Individualized Major: Consciousness-Based Education for Sustainability."
This option was first offered six years ago and involved only a few students. The focus the first four years was on organizing the program and developing the best format and processes. MUM then began to give some attention to promoting the program, and in the past year interest has greatly expanded.
According to Professor Collins,the major appeals to students who haven't yet begun college and who want flexibility, as well as to current students who have studied for a year or two and decide that they want a particular focus for their studies.
"Many decide that they want to spend more time studying Maharishi Vedic Science beyond the general education courses," Professor Collins said. "So they design a major that integrates additional courses in Maharishi Vedic Science."
The Individualized Major especially appeals to students who've earned many credits at other colleges and want to design a program that will let them finish their degree in two semesters.
Daniel Bramlett is such a student. He had been studying human service with a focus on helping those addicted to drugs and alcohol. He wanted a deeper understanding of consciousness and the mind. When he found out about MUM, he decided it was just what he was looking for.
He designed a degree titled "Consciousness-Based Human Service." He liked the idea of naming his own degree and the fact that he could complete his degree in two semesters by studying Maharishi Vedic Science(SM) and taking classes on consciousness.
He is able to integrate knowledge of consciousness and Maharishi Vedic Science with his previous coursework in the field of human service and psychology, thereby fulfilling his original desire to earn a degree in human service.
Professors Collins and Armstrong find it very rewarding to help students design their major.
"We enjoy helping students find their true dharma," Professor Collins said.
He said that MUM President John Hagelin has been very supportive of the Individualized Major, and that having this flexibility in the curriculum is also important to retaining students.
For more information, see www.mum.edu/individualized-major.
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